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I was flying A -> PEK -> B, where flights A -> PEK and PEK -> B are operated by different airline companies (Air China and Azerbaijan Airlines in my case). My baggage was checked through by carrier A to final destination B.

When I arrived at B, it turned out that my baggage got stuck in Beijing. When airline staff contacted Beijing Airport they told us that they found a power bank in my suitcase, and due to security reasons they can't load it on the plane. That was very surprising because I didn't have any power banks in my suitcase. What they identified as a power bank may have been a small mobile phone that I had in my bag... But can they really refuse to load my baggage because of that? How did my bag even make it to Beijing then? It passed through customs at A, and made its way to Beijing without any problems. What are my rights in this situation? Can I ask the airline to open the suitcase and remove items they consider dangerous?

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But can they really refuse to load my baggage because of that?

That's irrelevant. They have in fact done this. You'll have to deal with it.

How did my bag even make it to Beijing then? It passed through customs at A, and made its way to Beijing without any problems.

Your bag did not pass through Customs in A. It passed whatever security screening exists in A in order to be loaded onto the airplane. Security screening is frequently different in different places.

What are my rights in this situation?

Your baggage is stuck in Beijing because Azerbaijan Airlines refuses to load it for security reasons (and/or perhaps for nefarious search reasons, as noted in the Comments below). The Azerbaijan Airlines Terms & Conditions of Carriage (i.e., the contract whose terms control the relationship between you and the airline and should define who's responsible for what) will control. I've not read them...but it's dollars to donuts that the airline can refuse to load anything it considers inappropriate, and you're responsible.

Can I ask the airline to open the suitcase and remove items they consider dangerous?

Certainly. You can ask for anything. This is a pretty good suggestions, IMO.

  • And of course, yes they can refuse to load baggage that contains something they consider dangerous. Merely consider the case where the thing they found was actually very dangerous - you certainly wouldn't want it flying on a plane with you. – DJClayworth Sep 19 at 15:21
  • It's possible they really wanted to analyze the data in the cellphone, which takes more time than would be possible to also have it sent on the plane to go with the person. As for the excuses given- OP isn't in a position to know the exact reasons and they could tell him anything. They are most likely highly suspicious of anyone that speaks English or looks American (especially with the trade war escalating with the United States and China's increased military activities at sea), and they would take every opportunity to examine a foreigner's electronics. – Zorkolot Sep 19 at 15:48

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